Most brands get it completely wrong when marketing themselves. Oh, they do a great job of portraying the benefits of the product or service they are selling. But they miss the important element of emotional intensity when trying to create a preference. They think purchase decisions are rational. They could not be more wrong.
Here is an example of a brand that gets it mostly right (maybe even completely right). Advance Auto Parts has a campaign running right now that makes me think it actually gets it.
When you are looking to steal market share, all the bells and whistles that your brand claims are important and most marketers communicate those in spades. But they usually miss the great tiebreaker in preference. Highest emotional intensity.
We all buy the things we believe we need and want. Few, excepting compulsive shoppers, buy just for the satisfaction of buying. But preference for like products or offerings comes down to emotion. The best brands find a way to reflect the sense of self that the prospect wears on their sleeves. At the end of the day we all prefer to buy brands that reinforce our own emotional identity.
Advance Auto Parts seems to get it right.
In the Advance Auto parts commercial, the car repairman is portrayed as a hero. A no-nonsense, straight talking and hard working guy who has his priorities straight. He dislikes those feminine (their definition) discount cards and affinity programs that make you carry a membership card or enter a number or address. If Advance Auto Parts is right in this assertion, it is a great campaign. If it is wrong…well, it’s still a good campaign.
In a category that is a desert of emotion, this campaign stands out. It will do more to build its business than any sale or featured product. After all, we all know where to buy the brake pads. That is a no brainer. Now we also know who shops at Advance Auto Parts and that is the dealmaker. It works because it honors the customer. It says he is worthy and smart. Smart enough to realize that there are always sales and deals.
We always conduct projectable market research to understand the underpinnings of those emotional triggers. If Advance Auto Parts has done exactly that then it has just hit a home run. Usually, however, brands try to save cash and rely on instinct and the best guess of the ad agency to figure all this out.
So ,Advance Auto Parts, if you do not have the research to back up the highest emotional intensity of the brand promise, and the needle does not move, don’t blame the campaign. Blame the agency. If it works, stick with it. Sometimes it’s great just to be lucky.
I am thinking that, to the executives at Advance Auto Parts, they see this as just an advertising campaign and not a brand reposition. I say that because the web site reflects none of the emotional intensity or even look and feel of the campaign, for that matter. You would not even know you were navigating to the same brand that was advertised. Too bad. It might have lightening in a bottle.